Legacy of Florence Nightingale and the Millennium Goals

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The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that were set in 2000 are supposed to be completed by the year 2015 (United Nations [UN], 2015). They include the following targets: “to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality and empower women; to reduce child mortality; to improve maternal health; to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability, and to develop a global partnership for development” (WHO, 2015, para. 2). The results that have been achieved can be found on the Unites Nations (UN) or World Health Organization sites. For example, children’s mortality and the number of underweight children has been declining throughout the last decade; the number of new HIV infections has dropped by 38% in2013, and the number of tuberculosis cases is reducing (WHO, 2015; UN 2015).

The MDGs are interconnected. For example, child mortality is lower in the families the members of which are educated (UN, 2015). Apart from that, all the MDGs, even those that are not directly connected to healthcare, have an impact on the well-being of the world’s population and are essential for nursing (WHO, 2015).

The Legacy of Florence Nightingale

While the MDGs were set in the year 2000, Florence Nightingale has been expressing similar ideas in the 19th century. She sought to improve healthcare as a phenomenon, and through her actions, she advocated and promoted all the MDGs even though at the moment they were not defined as such (Beck, Dossey & Rushton, 2015).

In my opinion, the fact that these problems have been existing for many centuries underlines their importance. While the UN works to accomplish the MDGs and is achieving positive results, it is evident that there is still much to do (UN, 2015). I believe that at least partially nurses are responsible for advancing MDGs, and the ideas of Florence Nightingale can become the suitable guidelines for our actions.

Advancing Millennium Goals

All the MDGs are interrelated, and my choice of goals # 5, 6, and 8 are mostly guided by my ideas concerning the peculiarities of modern life. The modern age is the age of information. One of the pluses of globalization is the opportunity of exchanging knowledge and experience, which is nowadays facilitated by new technologies. The interconnection of MDGs can be illustrated with the example of goal # 8: its fulfillment is necessary for most other MGs, including the necessity of combating diseases, like, for example, HIV. Apart from that, I find that nursing communities need to share their ideas and experience. Thankfully, the modern age offers numerous opportunities for doing so. Finally, Nightingale also promoted the importance of global thinking and the partnership between communities of nurses along with continuous education, all of which can be achieved by fulfilling the MDG # 8 (Beck, Dossey & Rushton, 2015)

Apart from that, I believe that patients should also be provided with information. By giving them accurate and relevant information about their bodies, rights, opportunities, and risks, we offer our patients the tool they can use to improve their condition. In such a way, we may help to fulfill most MGs, including the 5th and 6th. For example, the number of women who receive antenatal care the recommended four times during their pregnancy has been just above 60% in the past decade (WHO, 2015). I think that by promoting the information about antenatal care among women we may make another contribution to the advancement of millennium goals.

Even though the contribution of a single nurse does not appear to be significant, our cooperation is bound to promote the fulfillment of the MGs and further improvement of healthcare worldwide.


Beck, D., Dossey, B., & Rushton, C. (2015). Florence Nightingale. Connecting Her Legacy With Local-To-Global Health Today. Web.

United Nations. (2015). United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Web.

World Health Organization. (2015). Fact sheet N°290. Web.

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